Saturday, January 2, 2010

Top 10 stories of 2009: No. 5 - N.Y. State wrestling champions

Shenendehowa's Austin Meys is recognized as a three-time New York State champion at 189 pounds on February 28 2009 (Photo by Tom Killips - The Record).

In fact, three local wrestlers, including a pair from the Collar City, finished their high school careers as at least two-time state champions in downtown Albany that day.

La Salle Institute students Zach Clemente (145 pounds, pictured below) and Ken Altarac (285 pounds, now wrestling at Appalachian State) were also crowned state champions for a second time. Clemente is redshirting his freshman year at the University of Virginia.

Hoosick Falls' Jeremy Burns also reached the state finals in the 189-pound weight class, but lost to top-seeded Chris Nocchi of Waverly.

While the Capital Region does not have a collegiate wrestling program within 65 miles (SUNY-Oneonta is the nearest), many of our local grapplers are heading to sunnier and warmer locales to wrestle at the Division I level. Wrestling may not be one of the most visible sports in Section II, but at the state level, Section II athletes have more success than in perhaps any other sport.

The New York State High School wrestling championships return to Albany on Feb. 26 and 27, 2010.

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